The London Fire Brigade today announced an alarming rise in the number of nuisance calls it is receiving to deal with ‘fires’ in buildings, detracting from its core work of running small gardening businesses and checking smoke alarms.
Spokesman Ken Norris revealed that homeowners and business people have been phoning 999 with ‘emergencies’ such as kitchen fires and warehouses in flames. ‘Last week we received a call from a householder whose chip pan had caught fire when we were right in the middle of polishing the chief’s Merc in the yard. It was looking really gleamy with the third layer of lacquer just on and we had to abandon the job and rush off to this alleged ‘fire’. Had this lady invested in a bit of home firefighting equipment there would have been absolutely no need to waste taxpayers money on calling us out. Then yesterday, when most of the lads are out helping people who have trouble pressing on a small button on their smoke alarm to check that its working, a chap on the industrial estate dialed the emergency number because his cardboard processing plant had caught fire.
Luckily I happened to be at the station testing the blue flashing lights of the big expensive appliance, and managed to rustle up a team of boys (once I’d got them off the Xbox in the mess room) and we attended as soon as we could. Had he just for a moment thought about buying a second hand fire engine from ebay in case of this eventuality then we could have carried on with our vital work back at the station.’
With the average callout costing the taxpayer around £300 Mr. Norris urged people to be more considerate in their use of the fire service. ‘People really ought to be more prepared for fighting their own fires – apart from anything else I’m sometimes I’m so tired after working in my second job as a male stripper that I haven’t got the energy to go rescuing people from burning buildings.’